Sunday, October 26, 2014

Spectacular SOCKS! - Spreading The News About Socktober

Welcome to a very overdue segment of Spectacular SOCKS!   I have gone a long time without posting another segment, and I really wish I could have posted this one sooner as October is almost over.  Nevertheless, I thought it was still worth including this information about Socktober. Socktober is a sock-drive for the homeless.  According to the website,
"Socktober was launched by Kid President creator Brad Montague four years ago. It’s a movement to get kids and grown-ups to help the homeless in an easy, fun way."
I've posted some videos below, and for more detailed information on the sock-drive and how you can get involved visit their website:

I think this is a great idea. I would like to point out that this is an American charity, and as far as I know there is not a Canadian branch. I would love for us to start a sock-drive of our own, and though I am quite late posting this, it's not too late to contribute to charities and homeless shelters for the winter.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Halloween Party 2014 - Crafts, Jack O' Lanterns, and a few thoughts ...

When it comes to Halloween there's so much I could write about.  I'd love to talk about the origins of Halloween and how hypocritical it is that so many condemn it as something evil due to its pagan origins.  I remember one girl at my high school telling me that if I really knew how Halloween began I wouldn't celebrate it.  Well, as far as I know, Halloween was thought to be the easiest day for fairies and the souls of the dead to cross over into the mortal world.  And while it may seem a bit scary to think that trick-or-treating came from the practice of bribing the otherworldly beings with food so they would not harm the living, I think it's worth noting that departed loved ones were thought to revisit their homes.  A quick Wikipedia search reveals that people would set a place at their dinner tables to welcome family members who had died.  Keeping in mind that these are the customs of a people from a very different time, place, culture, and lifestyle, I would think October 31st was a day that reminded people to show their ancestors the respect they deserve, but also a day that comforted the grieving, making them feel as if their loved ones were not far away, and ultimately reminding them to appreciate their loved ones who were still living.

I could go on and dissect individual statements people have made denouncing Halloween, or examine the very false claim made by my cabdriver just yesterday that Halloween is only celebrated in North America.  I could launch into a critique of Halloween-related movies, or comment on why my city's newspaper always runs an article around this time of year about the Halloween "slut rule" discussed in the 2004 film Mean Girls - but I won't.  As I've said previously, Halloween for me is about creativity, so this very late post will be about my projects from last Halloween:

The following are some Halloween Rose Magnets I made using 2-sided scrapbooking paper, orange and black ribbon, refrigerator magnets, and hot glue. 

To make the roses I followed instructions found on Pinterest.  I hot glued them in place, glued 2 strips of ribbon onto each magnet, and then hot-glued each rose onto a magnet.  I only managed to make 6 roses, and some of them I gave out with candy to trick-or-treaters.  

I also made an assortment of Halloween Bookmarks to give out with candy to trick-or-treaters.
Again, I used Halloween scrapbooking paper as well as some patterned orange scrapbooking paper and black cardstock.  I used assorted ribbon, craft border scissors, a glue stick, and a pumpkin stamp.


The last of my projects for the year was my Harvest Witch Jack O' Lantern, whose witch hat I constructed out of potpourri and hot glue. 

I also used some potpourri pieces for the eyes and tongue.  The following are some pictures of the pumpkin in various stages.
As you can probably see, I hammered tiny nails into the pumpkin and then glued some potpourri pieces onto the nails.
It wasn't the safest or most secure method of attaching parts to the pumpkin, but I've discovered in the past that hot-gluing directly onto the pumpkin does not work well.

When undertaking any project it always helps to have moral support and mine came from my constant helper - although I suspect this photo captures her attempt to take credit for my work.

It's kind of hard to stay made at her though ...

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Halloween Party October 25, 2014 - Hosted By A Fanciful Twist

Hi everyone ... it's certainly been a while!  Now that I finally have a new and functioning computer of my own I am hoping to blog more often.  In fact it's a goal of mine - I find it so disappointing when I come across what looks like an interesting blog only to discover its most recent addition was more than a year ago.  I still have projects to show, experiences to tell, movies and TV shows to analyze, thoughts and opinions to discuss, political and world-views to push on people (just kidding) and socks to enjoy so I would to keep my blog from looking abandoned to potential readers.

Having said that, I am hoping to join in the upcoming Halloween Blog Party on Saturday, October 25, 2014 hosted by A Fanciful Twist as I love Halloween!  As far as I'm concerned Halloween is the most creative holiday that I know of.  Not only can you bake festive desserts and decorate your home inside and out as you would for Christmas, but you can carve Jack O' Lanterns, make masks, sew costumes, experiment with strange hairstyles, and try new makeup and cosmetics like false eye-lashes and fake tattoos.

While I'm rather late joining in, I really hope I can be a part of it, and I can't wait to see what other participants will post.  See you then!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Doctor Who Valentine

I've been meaning to do some fan art for a long time now, particularly Doctor Who fan art.  The other night I finally had an idea for a Doctor Who Valentine that only a Whovian will understand:


The front of this card, I based on an image from the Season 7 episode "The Power of Three."  Whovians should remember that Kate Stewart held a scanning device in front of the Doctor which showed that he did indeed have two hearts.  What better to use as the cover of a Valentine, than a scanning device showing the Doctor's two hearts?  They may be anatomically correct hearts inside a human body, but they're still hearts!

I found the image the hard way:  I put the DVD in the computer, clicked on the episode, and went directly to the scene in question and paused it at just the right moment.  I then took a picture of the heart scanner on my phone.  The picture I will include here, however, was taken from Tardis Data Core:

Image of Kate Stewart's Scan from "The Power of Three" taken from Tardis Data Core

On the back of the card I wrote "Happy Valentine's Day" and based the letters on the Doctor Who font.  In addition, I decorated the back of this card, with letters from the Gallifreyan alphabet.  As a guide, I used this image of the Gallifreyan alphabet from Science Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange, a "a question and answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts."

Circular Gallifreyan
Image of Gallifreyan Alphabet Copied from Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange

Well, I hope fans will get a kick out of it, and I'm hoping to do some more Doctor Who fan art in the future.  I'd love to read any comments, criticisms, or suggestions for future projects.  And of course, I'd love to see anything you've made as well.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sylvester The Cat Gives The Finger ... Merry Christmas Children!


This is just a quick post to share some pictures that I thought were funny.

Recently I spent an evening officially putting away all things Christmas - late I know, but when you have Fibromyalgia you take longer to do things than you normally would.  The artificial tree was already disassembled and put away thanks to my brother, but the tree ornaments remained loosely in a single cardboard box.  You see, the day my mom took down the ornaments I wasn't feeling up to going to the basement and bringing up the proper containers for the ornaments, so my mom stored them in the box temporarily and set them aside for me to sort and return to the basement when I felt ready to handle the job.

When I finally did feel up to putting everything away the task took a lot longer than I intended thanks to the vile bitch that is Fibromyalgia, but through all the drudgery I discovered something new about a very old ornament.  While handling a very old, very beat-up-looking ornament of Sylvester The Cat I noticed he appears to be giving the finger to someone behind him!  Observe:

Now, I know you could argue that the picture of Sylvester's front below clearly shows that he only has 4 fingers (or digits, given that he's a cat) and therefore can't technically put up his middle finger, but I would argue that that doesn't mean he would never want to.  After all, if a character with 4 fingers has reason to give the finger, he or she would certainly do so in their own way.
And let's face it: what else could he possibly be doing?  Just randomly pointing upwards?  What makes more sense to you?
A) a cartoon character well-loved by children, now in the form of a Christmas ornament is pointing upwards for no apparent reason
B) a cartoon character who constantly gets his ass kicked by a bird for the amusement of children, now in the form of a Christmas ornament, is turning his back on the cruel, sadistic children and is flipping them the bird (get it?).
Study the photos, and his facial expression, and you tell me ...

Friday, December 20, 2013

DIY Christmas Ornaments From Old Toys

Since Christmas is only a few days away I thought it would be a great time to share some Christmas ornaments I’ve made.  As you will see, they’re very simple to make but I’m still proud of the idea and the finished product.  As a side note, I think this would be a great project for someone who is spending their first Christmas away from home and doesn’t want to spend a lot of time and money shopping for decorations.  Of course it would also be a great project for parents to do with young children.

Even as an adult I still associate Christmas with toys.  I still remember many of the toys I received from Santa Claus as a child and I’m sure many of you do too.  It is for this reason that I think old toys make wonderful Christmas tree ornaments – they are as much a part of Christmas as snowmen, reindeer, angels, and bells, and seeing them on the tree brings back memories of childhood.  In fact, just as I was describing my craft idea to my mom, she started telling me about how she loved playing with ABC blocks as a child.  She never had any when she was young, so whenever she would get to school she would go straight to the blocks and began building a castle.  She even showed me how she constructed it!

ABC Block Ornaments

For this project you will need the following:
-  a hot glue gun
-  assorted ABC blocks
-  scissors
-  butter knife (or other item to press ribbon onto the hot glue)
-  ribbon or string*

*  If you prefer, you can use metal Christmas tree hooks instead of the ribbon or string.


Step 1

Cut approximately 6 inches of ribbon and fold it so that the two ends are together.  If you like, you can even tie the two ends.
Step 2

Using the hot glue gun, add enough hot glue on the top of an ABC Block so that it will secure the ribbon to the block.
Step 3
Quickly press the two ends of the ribbon into the hot glue and use a butter knife to flatten the ribbon, ensuring that the glue will secure it to the block.

Repeat the process with the remaining blocks, or if you like you can make some adjustments.  Gluing the ribbon to the corner of the block as opposed to the top creates a slightly different affect.
You can also make some ornaments using two or even three blocks.  When I add a second or third block, I like to use different colours and I stack them so they are at slightly different angles.

You can follow the steps above using other kinds of toys.  I made more ornaments using Legos and I’m also happy with the result.  Again, I think this would look great using an assortment of colours and sizes.


If you don’t have any old toys that can be used for this project I would suggest looking at a dollar store or second hand store – after all, you are purchasing these items as raw materials, so it wouldn’t make sense to buy brand new toys.

 There are lots of other toys you can use to make Christmas tree ornaments, such as:
- puzzle pieces
- crayons
- toy cars
- toy airplanes
- small dolls
- small teddy bears
- doll house furniture
- toy tea cups (preferably plastic)
- action figures
The only other suggestion I can make to improve your ornaments is to have a special helper participate in your festive projects.  I realize some will not have the option of including a special friend, but with a helper like mine, I didn’t exactly have the option not to include her!

Well, that’s it for now.  I welcome any comments or suggestions and as always, I’d love to see pictures of your own crafts so feel free to send me a link.  You can also send me a link to anything similar you think I would like.  I hope everyone has a great Christmas and, if I don't write back for a while, a happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Christmas Gift-Wrapping Projects

It’s been so long since I’ve posted anything I’ll be surprised if I still have any readers!  This last year has been pretty stressful and chaotic, which might explain the disappearance of my urge to write.  I hope to start writing more often though, since I definitely feel I have a lot to say.

For some people it’s still too early to start thinking about Christmas, but since getting a head start in November takes some of the pressure off shoppers, I think it’s a good time to start a Christmas post.

When it comes to special occasions such as Christmas, I take gift-wrapping very seriously.  I buy gift wrap that has just the right colours, colour-combinations, shades, designs, and sheen.  Bows, ribbons, and gift tags are also quite important, so I search for the unique and attractive in the right colours as well, but I also try to make sure they compliment the gift wrap.
In addition to ribbons and bows I started to add other embellishments to the gifts and I find that this creates an elegant effect.

The first present is wrapped in a shiny paper that I chose because it is multicoloured and contains the colours associated with Christmas: red, green, and gold.
I topped this gift with two artificial poinsettias, artificial red berries, and a metallic red icicle, all of which I purchased from Dollarama.  Since green is the dominant colour in the gift wrap, red decorations stand out and pick up the red stripes in the paper.  I believe the shininess of the berries and metallic ornament also compliments the metallic paper.  Since the icicle is a Christmas tree ornament I chose the gift tag shaped like a Christmas tree bulb which is red and shiny in keeping with the rest of the embellishments.
I used the same items to decorate the next gift, but wrapped it in a very different paper.  This metallic silver actually contains poinsettias in the design but very little red, so for this embellishment I used three poinsettias and slightly less berries.  Again, I think the shiny items compliment the gift wrap nicely.
To hold everything together, I strung the small ribbon from the gift tag through the red icicle and poinsettia and tied them to the wire stems of the berries.  It may be simpler to use a hot glue gun to attach the items together, and then to attach the whole piece to the gift.  Scotch tape will hold the piece to the gift, but as it is much heavier than a regular bow, it can easily come off.

For the next gift, I used a red gift wrap with gold swirls which I really love. 
To compliment the gold swirls I used three pieces of wired gold ribbon and a tiny bouquet of artificial gold roses and pinecones.  I tied each ribbon around the stems of the bouquet and carefully taped them down onto the present. 

I then tried to shape all six strands of ribbon, and attached a gold gift tag.  I was disappointed that the gift tag contained the colour blue instead of, say, red, but that’s what it’s like to be a crazy perfectionist gift wrapper.

The last gift might be my favourite.  I love this wrapping paper: it contains all the Christmas colours and is designed with colourfully swirled tree ornaments. 

To embellish this gift I used items to match every colour in the paper – gold pinecones pick up the gold swirled ornaments while the red berries, bulb, and gift tag pick up the red of the paper.  The white swirls of the round gift tag nicely set off the white swirls of the round ornaments, and the tiny green design on the bulb matches the overall green of the paper. 

 The piece is held together by two gold ribbons that I threaded through the ornament and tried around the stems of the berries and pinecones.  Again, taping it down may not be the most secure choice due to the weight of the bulb and berries.

As you can imagine, these were the only gifts I wrapped last year – the rest were deposited into gift bags and topped with tissue paper.  I don’t like giving presents in gift bags, as I believe seeing a wrapped present, ripping off the paper, and opening the box create a suspense that a gift bag can’t produce.  But when you are a creative perfectionist who can spend a whole hour wrapping a present and you also suffer from the chronic pain of fibromyalgia, you learn to alter your standards.

I’d love to read any comments on my gift wrapping and I’ll take any suggestions you might have for this year’s presents.  I’d also love to see pictures of anything nice you’ve wrapped or links you’d like to share about gift-wrapping ideas.